Warm Up — Roll Down
Stand up tall, with the feet about hip-width distance apart and the shoulders drawn up, back and down. Gently engage core muscles — refer to this article on finding your core if you need to know how to do this. Inhale and prepare for the movement. As you exhale, tuck your chin into your chest and begin rolling the spine downwards, allowing the weight of your arms to carry you down. As you move towards the floor, soften your knees and allow your hands to hang down as if your fingers have lead weights attached to them. Inhale at the bottom of the move, then as you exhale slowly rebuild the vertebrae in the spine until you come back up to a standing position.
Repeat up to 5 times.
Lie on your front and open your arms out on the floor, aligning your elbows with your shoulders. Make a surrender shape with your arms and draw your shoulders back and down. With your eyes looking down, keep your neck in line with your spine. Engage your core muscles and tuck the pelvis slightly under. Inhale to prepare and, as you exhale, lift your chest from the floor, keeping the neck in line with the spine. To begin with, keep the movement small and your elbows and hands in contact with the floor, using them for stability as you lift, but keep the emphasis on lifting with the muscles in the back rather than those in your arms. If there is no discomfort in the lower back, you can increase the range of movement by lifting the elbows and forearms off the floor, ensuring the shoulders stay drawn down.
Repeat up to 10 times
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, a comfortable distance away from your bottom, arms by your sides. Find your neutral spine position and engage your core muscles. Soften your shoulders away from your ears.
Inhale to prepare. As you exhale, lift the right foot off the floor and bring the bent leg up so that the knee is over the hip and the shin is parallel to the floor, keeping the foot in line with the knee. Use your core muscles to maintain a neutral spine position and hold the leg in this position for five deep, even breaths. Concentrate on keeping your hips aligned. On the fifth exhalation, slowly lower the leg back to the starting position, using the core muscles to reduce any movement in the back. With the next exhalation, lift the left leg and repeat the movement, holding the position for a further five deep, even breaths. The goal is for the back to stay in a neutral position throughout the exercise.
To increase the intensity of the move, extend the lifted leg from a bent, right-angled position to a straight leg at an angle of approximately 45 degrees. Because the lever length — the leg, in other words — has been extended, it might be more challenging to maintain a neutral spine for the full five breaths. If you feel the lower back arching, bring the leg back to a right angle.
One Leg Circle
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, a comfortable distance away from your bottom, arms by your side. Find your neutral spine position and engage your core muscles. Soften your shoulders away from your ears.
Inhale to prepare. As you exhale, lift the right foot off the floor and bring the bent leg up so that the knee is over the hip and the shin is parallel to the floor, keeping the foot in line with the knee.
Keeping the right knee bent, draw small, imaginary circles on the ceiling with the knee, ensuring that it remains directly above the hips. Inhale as the knee comes in towards the centre of the body, exhale as the knee travels away from the body. Perform five circles in each direction, trying to increase the size of the circle very slightly each time. Once you have drawn five circles in each direction, breath out and slowly lower the leg to its starting position. Repeat with the other leg. The challenge is to keep the hips in alignment and maintain a neutral spine position throughout the movement.
Ending The Session
End the session by drawing both knees into the chest, holding on softly around the shins and rocking gently from side to side, giving the sacrum a little massage.
Place the feet back onto the floor one at a time and take the arms slightly wide of the body. Let the shoulders soften into the floor. Inhale to prepare, exhale and allow both knees to drop to the right, letting them rest on the floor, keeping the shoulder blades in contact with the floor. Turn the head gently to the left. Hold for five slow, deep breaths. Inhale to prepare, exhale and draw the knees and head back to the centre and then all the way over to the left, gently turning the head to the right. Inhale to prepare, exhale and draw the knees and head back to the centre and then allow the legs to lengthen out along the floor.
Allow yourself to rest in this position for at least ten slow deep breaths.
And then you’re done!